Oddsmakers Putting Money on Jeb Bush to Win GOP Nomination; Marco Rubio Is Gaining

The Super Bowl is this week, and bettors and gamblers will be throwing down big bucks on who they think will win between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Oddsmakers are divided on which team will win the big game. But did you know there are also oddsmakers out there laying down predictions on political races as well?

Oh yes. And while we wouldn't advocate betting on who will win a primary or the White House because it's both illegal and dumb, it's still interesting to see who oddsmakers like for 2016.

And as it stands right now, Florida is the odds-on favorite to be represented in the GOP race for the presidency, with Jeb Bush being the top bet and Marco Rubio making a serious run as well.

Even though we're still a year off from getting things rolling officially, the GOP has been busy propping up different candidates to make a run for the White House. So far, the big fish has been Bush, who has yet to officially declare anything but is pretty much going to be gunning to try to be the third Bush to be president.

And, according to Oddschecker, a website that keeps tabs on European political oddsmakers, Jeb is the favorite to be nominated.

Most of the bookies put Jeb's odds of winning at 5-to-2.

But Rubio, who recently told supporters he's ready to run and is currently going around hocking his book, is on Bush's heels, according to these bookies.

Jeb might be the odds-on favorite because he's gotten a head start, what with his starting a PAC and all recently. But it also might be because he seems to be more moderate (at least, on the outside) than Rubio as of late. But Rubio seems to be getting more of the bets coming his way. The oddsmakers have Rubio at 5-to-1 odds and 7-to-1 odds.

Rubio making grounds also might be due to Jeb not being the most popular among the more conservative parts of the GOP, who have not been fans of his pragmatism or his position on issues such as immigration reform and Common Core.

His speech to CPAC in 2013 fell flat when he offered that the Republican Party needs to be more inclusive while saying things like, "If you're fortunate enough to count yourself among the privileged, much of the rest of the nation is drowning."

According to Oddschecker, Rubio has garnered 14 percent of the bets to win.

Still, Jeb has always seemed to edge Rubio, at least in some polls in recent years.

In a 2012 Public Policy Poling survey of 624 Florida Republicans, Jeb led Rubio 28 percent to 22 percent in whom those Republicans would support as a presidential candidate.

A 2013 Quinnipiac University Poll showed that likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would defeat both Jeb and Rubio.

However, that poll shows Jeb would be a better candidate against Clinton if the two squared off in 2016.

But this is politics, and things are forever in flux.

There's a bit of a drop off with oddsmakers after Jeb and Rubio, with Rand Paul and Mitt Romney coming in third and fourth, respectively. The rest of the field is logjammed in likely irrelevance and loss.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph